SparkNotes Blog

Shakespeare Quotes That Describe What College Is Like

William Shakespeare was pulled out of grammar school at age fourteen and thus never actually went to university, so he didn’t know about things like frat parties and eating pizza rolls for every meal. Luckily for you guys, I did do the college thing once, and I can’t think of a better way to explain what goes on there than by quoting the Bard:

When all your due dates fall on the same day:
“When sorrows come, they come not single spies. But in battalions.”
Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5

When you’ve got an 8AM class and your roommate comes barging in at 4 in the morning:
“Hang, cur! hang, you whoreson insolent noisemaker!”
The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 1

When the exam is cumulative:
“Let me be boiled to death with melancholy.”
Twelfth Night, Act 2, Scene 5

When you have four exams in one week:
“Here lies a wretched corse, of wretched soul bereft.”
Timon of Athens, Act 5, Scene 4

When your parents ask how school’s going:
“I have not slept one wink.”
Cymbeline, Act 3, Scene 4

When you’re ignoring all your due dates, problems, and general responsibilities:
“Oh, that way madness lies; let me shun that.”
King Lear, Act 3, Scene 4

When you said you’d start studying at 8:00 PM but when you look at the clock it’s 8:01:
“To study now it is too late.”
Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act 1, Scene 1

When the exam’s tomorrow so you have to teach yourself an entire semester’s worth of material in one night:
“Where art thou, death?”
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 5, Scene 2

When your parents ask you about your college friends:
“For one of them—she’s in hell already, and burns souls. For th’ other—I owe her money; and whether she be for that, I know not.”
Henry IV, Part 2, Act 2, Scene 4

When your roommate constantly eats all your food:
“He hath eaten me out of house and home.”
Henry IV, Part 2, Act 2, Scene 1

When your professor posts all the lectures online:
“I’ faith, I love thee. Thou art as valorous as Hector of Troy, worth five of Agamemnon, and ten times better than the Nine Worthies.”
Henry IV, Part 2, Act 2, Scene 4

When that one guy in your English class just won’t shut up:
“He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument.”
Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act 5, Scene 1

When you don’t have any money for food so you just eat whatever’s around:
“Now I’ll stand to it, the pancakes were naught and the mustard was good.”
As You Like It, Act 1, Scene 2

When you thought you aced the test, but it turns out you actually failed:
“Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises.”
All’s Well That Ends Well, Act 2, Scene 1

When your friend asks how you think the exam went:
“But, for mine own part, it was Greek to me.”
Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2

When everyone in your dorm is getting sick, and it’s only a matter of time before you get sick too:
“Hell itself breathes out contagion to this world.”
Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2

When you’re at a party and some dude starts flirting with your girlfriend:
“Why appear you with this ridiculous boldness before my lady?”
Twelfth Night, Act 3, Scene 4

When you know you should stay in and study but you wind up going out anyway:
“A witchcraft drew me hither.”
Twelfth Night, Act 5, Scene 1

When a staff member catches you stealing food from the dining hall:
“’Tis not unknown to you, madam, I am a poor fellow.”
All’s Well That Ends Well, Act 1, Scene 3

When your friend Gertrude is getting a little wild at the party:
“Gertrude, do not drink.”
Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 2

When you skip class one time and miss everything:
“Chaos is come again.”
Othello, Act 3, Scene 3

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